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Quantum Sensors Group

The Quantum Sensors Group, part of NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory, and the Quantum Electromagnetics Division, advances the detection of photons and particles in a variety of application areas using superconducting sensors and readout electronics.

The Group focuses on:

  • quantum effects, including superconductivity;
  • low temperatures to reduce thermal noise; and
  • the development of advanced sensors.

Major activities of the Group include:

  • superconducting x-ray and gamma-ray spectrometers for applications that include materials analysis and nuclear materials accounting
  • superconducting microbolometers for applications that include concealed weapons detection and understanding the early universe 
  • advanced cryogenics to aid the dissemination of cryogenic sensors
  • the determination of x-ray fundamental parameters to facilitate materials analysis by x-ray techniques
  • support of U.S. industries that develop or use advanced cryogenics and cryogenic sensors

News and Updates

Shedding Light on Dark Matter with SQUIDs

Perhaps fortunately, most folks haven't noticed that 85% of the Milky Way is missing: The kind of familiar, ordinary matter we know – made up of protons

Reading the Secrets of Ancient Light

Much of what we know about the origin and early history of the universe comes from a phenomenon discovered by accident 50 years ago: The cosmic microwave

Projects and Programs

Quantum Microcalorimeters

Superconducting devices at very low temperatures can be used to measure very small amounts of energy. Using this effect, the Quantum Sensors Group is building

Fabrication

The application of modern micro- and nanofabrication techniques to superconducting and cryogenic electronics is enabling new capabilities and applications.

Novel Devices

Emerging devices such as parametric amplifiers can provide new capabilities for cryogenic sensor systems. The Quantum Sensors Group is studying a range of new

Publications

On Low-Energy Tail Distortions in the Detector Response Function of X-Ray Microcalorimeter Spectrometers

Author(s)
Galen C. O'Neil, Paul Szypryt, Endre Takacs, Joseph N. Tan, Sean W. Buechele, Aung Naing, Young I. Joe, Daniel S. Swetz, Daniel R. Schmidt, William B. Doriese, Johnathon D. Gard, Carl D. Reintsema, Joel N. Ullom, John S. Villarrubia, Yuri Ralchenko
We use narrow spectral lines from the X-ray spectra of various highly charged ions to measure low-energy tail-like deviations from a Gaussian response function

Hot science with cool sensors

Author(s)
Kelsey M. Morgan
A thin superconducting film in the transition between its superconducting and normal states makes an ultra-sensitive thermometer, capable of measuring the

Approaches to the Optimal Nonlinear Analysis of Microcalorimeter Pulses

Author(s)
Joseph W. Fowler, Christine G. Pappas, Bradley K. Alpert, William B. Doriese, Galen C. O'Neil, Joel N. Ullom, Daniel S. Swetz
We consider how to analyze microcalorimeter pulses for quantities that are nonlinear in the data, while preserving the signal-to-noise advantages of linear

Awards

Ullom wins Boom Award

The Boom Award is named in honor of the emeritus professor from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Boom's career spanned more than thirty...

2007 APS Fellow - Kent Irwin

The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important...

Contacts

Group Leader